Pilanesberg Game Reserve: Everything You Need to Know About

The beautiful Pilanesberg National Park is an outstanding game reserve in the North West region of South Africa. The park is home to a range of animals, alongside a variety of flora and fauna. It is also situated in an ancient volcanic crater, allowing for different terrains throughout. 

A trip to Pilanesberg will leave you with lasting memories, alongside a once-in-a-lifetime getaway. With opportunities to get up and close with some of the world’s biggest mammals, alongside a chance to explore a unique part of the world, a trip here is truly unmatched. 

Its easy access, exceptional wildlife offering and unique landscapes make Pilanesberg a must-visit destination. To learn more about this fascinating part of South Africa, keep reading because we have all the information you need below! 

The Best Time to Visit Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Anyone visiting Pilanesberg National Park tends to be going here to catch a glimpse of the beautiful animals that call this place home. So, it is important to consider when to visit to ensure things like the weather don’t affect wildlife sightings. 

The best time to visit Pilanesberg is anytime between May and September. This is known as the dry season. During this time, the land doesn’t flourish as much as it does in the wet season, meaning animals are easier to spot searching for their next meal or by the watering holes. 

When the vegetation is better, the animals tend to wander further, lessening your chances of seeing them up and close. However, Pilanesberg is open all year round with each of the seasons having something unique to offer. 

If you’re looking for lush landscapes and plenty of greenery, anytime between October and April is the best time to go. This is when there is more rainfall at Pilanesberg, allowing flora and fauna to bloom across the varying terrains. It is also a great time to spot young animals, as this tends to be when the mothers give birth to their babies. 

For mild weather and a pleasant climate, April, May, September and October are great times to go to Pilanesberg. There are also fewer tourists during this time, making it easier to navigate around the park. 

No matter when you choose to visit Pilanesberg, you are sure to be impressed. With stunning scenery, breathtaking wildlife sightings and lots to see and do, there is something throughout the year. 

How to Get to Pilanesberg Game Reserve

One of the best things about visiting Pilanesberg Game Reserve is that it is easily accessible by car. For those flying into Johannesburg airport, the transfer time to the park is just over 2 hours. This is great for those hoping to explore the city and then head to Pilanesberg for safari adventures. 

There is also another airport nearby which is Pilanesberg International Airport. Located close to both Sun City and the national park, visitors can travel from here and explore other surrounding areas with ease. This makes it ideal for families or travellers trying to cut down on their transfer times. After all, it only means more time to explore all the wonders at Pilanesberg! 

For those who have organised their trip through a luxury safari package at Pilanesberg National Park, you will be pleased to know that private transfers are often included. These are ideal for those who want to take the stress out of planning their adventure. With everything you need already waiting for you upon arrival, what better way to fully immerse yourself in all that this beautiful part of South Africa has to offer? 

Pilanesberg Opening Hours and Entry Fee

Another perk to visiting Pilanesberg Game Reserve is that the park is open every day. This is great for those who plan to visit in the shoulder seasons, or during the quieter times of the year. However, the reserve does have different opening and closing times depending on the season in which you visit. Below are the different times so that you can plan your trip here accordingly. 

November to February – Opens at 05:30 am and closes at 07:00 pm 

March to April – Opens at 06:00 am and closes at 6:30 pm

May to August – Opens at 06:30 am and closes at 06:00 pm 

September to October – Opens at 06:00 am and closes at 06:30 pm 

Open 365 days a year 

Much like the opening and closing times, the prices also vary depending on who is visiting the park and the type of transportation you are using. Below displays the different prices to expect when entering Pilanesberg National Park. 

Adults – R 80 (£3.62) 

Children – R 30 (£1.36)

Pensioners – R 40 (£1.81)

Car – R 40 (£1.81)

International Visitors Levy – R 30 (£1.36) 

These prices will also vary for those staying in the park. As there are some excellent accommodation options throughout Pilanesberg, many visitors choose to stay here to immerse themselves fully in all that this breathtaking national park has to offer. 

The Best Things to Do at Pilanesberg National Park 

Aside from the exceptional wildlife encounters at Pilanesberg, there are also some other excellent activities to enjoy here. With unique ways to explore the reserve, alongside opportunities to learn more about its habitants, a trip here allows you to tick many bucket list adventures off in one go. 

Hot Air Balloon Safari

For a truly special experience, a hot air balloon ride around Pilanesberg is sure to impress. These rides provide visitors with stunning panoramic views of the park, alongside opportunities to catch a glimpse of some of the birds around the reserve. 

This is an excellent way to enjoy a romantic break with your partner, or a jam-packed adventure with the whole family. As you soar above Pilanesberg, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the animals roaming below. A hot air balloon ride through the reserve is ideal for those seeking a unique experience whilst visiting here. Alongside the opportunity to learn more about the area as you take in the scenery from a bird’s eye view. 

Game Drive Safari

A game drive around Pilanesberg National Park is one of the more favoured modes of transport for those enjoying a safari trip here. This is an excellent way to see some of the different species around the reserve, all whilst travelling with an experienced guide and learning more about the park as you go. 

The professional guides will take you to some of the best spots around Pilanesberg, increasing your chances of catching a glimpse of the Big 5, plus many other exciting animals. They also have extensive knowledge of the park and its history, providing you with a great place to learn more about the area, alongside those who live here. 

For those partaking in a luxury safari package, these drives also offer flexibility. You can customise your game drive to suit you and those you are travelling with. This means you can spend some time in your lovely accommodation before heading out to adventure in Pilanesberg. Having a planned itinerary also takes the stress out of organising your trip here, ideal for those travelling with kids. 

These game drives also provide a comfortable and safe place to explore Pilanesberg. The vehicles have been designed for exploring the park and the drivers have years of driving experience, knowing which roads to navigate and safe spots for viewing. This is also an excellent choice for those experiencing safari here for the first time

Walking Safari

If you’re hoping to spend some time getting out and active whilst visiting Pilanesberg National Park, a walking safari is a perfect way to do just that. These tours allow visitors to encounter the unique wildlife around the reserve, all whilst in the safe hands of experienced guides. 

There will be plenty of opportunities to get up and close with some of the wildlife around the park, allowing for a thrilling experience for all involved. During your walking safari, guests can hear the animals, all whilst wandering through the bush from the ground. This is also great for those hoping to catch a glimpse of the creatures in their natural habitat, as the quiet approach on foot is less likely to scare them off. 

For any eco-friendly travellers, a walking safari is a perfect way to explore Pilanesberg whilst reducing your impact on the environment. The lack of vehicles means that you can travel through the park without disrupting the natural habitat. 

Walking safaris around Pilanesberg National Park is also great for those who love to be outdoors and exercise. As you spend your days wandering around the reserve, you can keep fit, all whilst enjoying a true bucket list adventure. Making your way across varying terrains such as hills, valleys and rivers is also a great way to keep active whilst visiting the park. 

You will also find that there are plenty of excellent photo opportunities when exploring Pilanesberg on foot. The close range of the animals here allows visitors to get close-up shots as they wander through the park. This is perfect for any avid photographers, or those looking to capture memories to bring home. 

Spot the Big 5

One of the main draws to Pilanesberg National Park is the chance for visitors to spot the Big 5. These animals are a highlight for anyone enjoying a safari here and consist of African lions, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, elephants and leopards. Getting close to these magnificent animals allows for an unmatched experience. 

If you’re seeking another exciting excursion whilst visiting the park, be sure to check out Black Rhino Game Reserve, situated near Pilanesberg. A trip here provides visitors with an amazing place to catch a glimpse of the rhinoceros, alongside plenty of other wildlife. The area is designed to protect these animals, providing a unique experience for those visiting as they can spot endangered species firsthand.  

Whether you choose to explore Pilanesberg by hot air balloon, game drive, or walking safari there will be exciting adventures and thrilling sightings for all here. 

Where to Stay in Pilanesberg National Park 

When visiting Pilanesberg National Park, a trip here is extra special for those staying in the reserve. With opportunities to sleep in comfortable accommodations, surrounded by the most beautiful scenery, a stay here allows for an unmatched experience. 

There are plenty of incredible places to stay throughout Pilanesberg, many of which offer lavish chalets for guests to truly unwind after days of adventuring through the park. Once you have spent some time out on safari, there is no better way to relax than in gorgeous accommodation, with some providing personal chefs. Enjoy a mouthwatering meal with the whole family, all whilst taking in the encompassing landscapes. 

Staying in Pilanesberg Game Reserve is the best way to round up a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in this beautiful part of South Africa. 


We hope that after reading this article, you can now visit Pilanesberg National Park with all of the information you need. A trip here will leave you with memories to last a lifetime, alongside unmatched wildlife encounters. Whether you’re seeking intriguing animals, stunning scenery or unique landscapes, Pilanesberg has it all.

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